Electric Blankets – Nightmares or Dreamsleep?
I grew up just south of Stanthorpe, and while it is a beautiful place, and I highly recommend a visit there, let me tell you, in the winter it can get quite cold.
I was a bit of a wimpy kid (now I’m a wimpy adult) and while I don’t mind cold weather, I personally don’t like being cold. So I had an electric blanket. Sometimes I would “forget” to turn it off, and I was still hot and reluctant to put my toes in the -5 mornings…
So I know the appeal of an electric blanket and how nice it is to have something else keep you warm on those rather chilly nights. However, it is not really good for you.
The main reason why electric blankets are not good for you is obvious: there is a risk of fire. Because they are bent/coiled half the year, and in a bed with bodies lying crumpled up for part of the year, the wiring can be put under a tremendous amount of stress. Over time, the insulation around wires can become brittle or break, which can lead to electrical shock to the sleeper or short circuit and possible fire.
The second best way to minimize the risk of fire or electric shock from an electric blanket is to have it checked by a qualified electrician every year, before using it. He or she will check visible wiring and connections, and test for voltage and current, indicating if there is a short and advising you accordingly. If you have ANY doubt, throw it away!!
The next main reason why you should reduce your use of electric blankets is because it can create a high electric and electromagnetic field, which you are sleeping in. Or trying to. The body communicates electrically, and high electric or electromagnetic fields can cause insomnia, restless or unrefreshing sleep, that “jumping” feeling you sometimes feel in your muscles, anxiety, and sometimes nightmares.
Of course, the second best way to reduce these risks is to turn off your electric blanket before bed, or at least within five minutes of doing so. This can also prevent me from waking up in the middle of the night in a hot sweat…something I’ve done many times as a forgetful kid!
You will notice that I have said that these options are second best. This is because obviously the best option is not to use an electric blanket.
What other options are there? Well, there’s always that nice resource, the hot water bottle. These are great, cheap, you can get really cute and cozy covers for them, and they have the added bonus that you can use them as a COLD water bottle in the summer.
I personally have a second (cheap) duvet, which I use as a fitted sheet, under my bottom sheet. That has the advantage of reflecting heat back at me as soon as I get into bed. A nice warm shower just before bed to warm up your skin, climb into bed and you’re good to go. You can also get shearling or wool base layers that do something similar.
How do you keep warm? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!